State Fair Community College faculty and staff will not be given a salary increase after a Board of Trustees vote during a special board meeting Tuesday morning.
Facing a projected 3 percent drop in enrollment for the 2018-19 school year and an uncertain future in state revenues, board members voted to accept the recommendation of SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson and the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) to keep the employee compensation for Fiscal Year 2019 at the FY18 rates. Educational advancements will be given to those who have completed additional requirements for degrees.
Jim Page was the only trustee to vote against the recommendation.
Page recommended the use of a one-time transfer of $200,000 from earnings on a Title III Federal Grant to pay the projected $209,857 for the one-step increase to salaries for faculty members. Under the proposal, staff members were to receive a 1.75 percent raise.
“If we mean people are our most valuable resources then steps/salary increases must be a priority,” Page said during a work session prior to the meeting. “I don’t feel they have been.”
Page was referencing a comment by Anderson who noted that despite declining revenues a priority is to avoid the elimination of employees.
“Our folks are very dedicated,” Anderson said. “It is a priority to keep our people. We cut the budget by almost $400,000 from items and not programs or personnel.
“We have an obligation to keep the college as economically affordable as we can for our students,” she noted. “We also must be responsible to our taxpayers to spend their tax dollars wisely.”
The 2018 end-of-year budget showed a balance of $81,722.
Projected balances for 2019 show revenues at a deficit of $715,363.72. SFCC’s primary sources of revenue are from tuition and fees and state appropriations. 2019 projections for tuition and fees are $683,204.67 with state appropriations estimated at $73,300.
Trustees who voted against Page’s recommendation said a one-time temporary funding source was not the solution.
“We must have a sustainable budget,” Trustee Ron Wineinger said. “Making critical cuts is what we are talking about — it is the last thing we want to talk about but we are at that point. We have to make the tough decisions.
“We can’t kick the can down the road any longer,” Wineinger added. “We need to be leaders in this discussion. We must figure out a way to cut costs and we need to be the ones to lead the charge; to look at what we are going to do and we need to start now.”
Board President Randall Eaton said SFCC is at a critical point, agreeing that the college must make some hard decisions as they move forward.
“We have to look at the bottom line and we have to have a sustainable budget,” Eaton remarked prior to the board vote. “We have to look at what it will cost and how do we get there. We can’t do anything under our current situation. We must be leaders.”
The board will meet June 26 to adopt the 2019 budget.